China Blocking WHO From Investigating Coronavirus Origins

( The World Health Organization has been unable to investigate the origins of the coronavirus, due to actions being taken by the Chinese government.

According to an investigative report by the New York Times, China isn’t allowing officials from the WHO to independently probe the origins of the coronavirus. The Times revealed its report Monday after reviewing both interviews and internal documents.

The coronavirus was first reported to have originated in the city of Wuhan, China, at an animal market. But the exact origins of the outbreak have been questioned by many.

For one, a species of bat is believed to have been the original host of the coronavirus, but that species isn’t sold at the Wuhan animal market in question. In addition, coronaviruses themselves were being studied at a few virology labs within the city of Wuhan.

Research that will be conducted on those who are reported to be the first patients infected with coronavirus – as well as the outbreak at the animal market itself – will be handled by Chinese scientists. WHO personnel will “augment, rather than duplicate” the research, according to the Times report.

Officials with the WHO have also complained in private that Chinese officials have refused to grant them full access to some materials that would be relevant to their probe. At the same time, these Chinese officials have consistently praised China’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Regarding the agency’s investigation into the coronavirus origins, Lawrence O. Gostin told the Times:

“It was an absolute whitewash. But the answer was, that was the best they (WHO officials) could negotiate with Xi Jingping.”

Gostin is a professor of global health law at Georgetown University. He was commenting on the WHO’s efforts to negotiate the format of the coronavirus investigation with Xi, who is China’s ruler. He serves as president of the People’s Republic of China, the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and the chairman of the Central Military Commission.

President Donald Trump has railed against China and the WHO for their handling of the coronavirus ever since the outbreak began late last year. He has been specifically critical of the WHO’s apparent favoritism it has shown toward China, who was a much lesser contributor to the organization than the United States was.

In fact, in the spring, Trump announced that he was pulling the United States out of the World Health Organization altogether. He said America would cut all future funding to the WHO, as of the summer 2021. The president blamed this move on the WHO for “parroting Chinese propaganda” in regards to China’s coronavirus pandemic response.

At least 1.2 million people worldwide have died from COVID-19, the illness the coronavirus causes. More than 46 million people around the world have been infected by the virus thus far. Both of these numbers are probably much higher due to underreporting.

In the United States alone, there have been 9.2 million confirmed cases, and 231,000 deaths as a result of coronavirus.